Termez, Shahrisabz, Khiva
Пугаченкова, Г. Термез, Шахрисяб, Хива. Москва: Искусство, 1976, 205c.

Pugachenkova, G. Termez, Shahrisabz, Khiva. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1976, 205pp.


Termez, Shahrisabz, Khiva

Термез, Шахрисяб, Хива

Termez, Shahrisabz, Khiva (1976) is similar in style and format to Galina Pugachenkova’s earlier work Samarkand, Bukhara (1968) and designed as a guidebook. However, this book is written in a more academic language and does not contain the same ‘guiding’ narrative. Pugachenkova aims to show the importance of these lesser known and less visited cities through a brief historical narrative of their development over the last two millennia and then through descriptions of their major architectural ensembles. Since most of the standing monuments belong to Islamic, particularly Timurid and later periods, the narrative naturally becomes dominated by detailed discussions of mediaeval architecture. 

Historical sources are used extensively in order to convey the former grandeur of the monuments now in ruins, and to discuss their function. A hundred illustrations of the archaeological findings in the cities add more flavour to the narrative as they depict the condition of the monuments in the Soviet period. 

Pugachenkova’s book stands out over other similar descriptive narratives as it shows the similarities and differences between the monuments of these cities and other monuments in the rest of Central Asia. The author excels in telling the story of the evolution of architectural styles and the transmission of architectural knowledge across the region through discussions of selected monuments and major historical events. Pugachenkova interprets and de-codes complex elements of architectural decor masterfully, praising architects and craft-masters rather than the rulers of the cities. She also explains the organisation and planning of the mediaeval Islamic cityscape, particularly when discussing Khiva.

This work is not as easy to follow as Samarkand, Bukhara and is more analytical in content, but it remains an important reference for the monuments of Termez, Shahrisabz and Khiva in particular, and for Central Asian architecture in general. 

Gaigysyz Jorayev
Jorayev, Gaigysyz. “English abstract of 'Termez, Shahrisabz, Khiva'". Translated by Gaigysyz Jorayev. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 147. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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